Late night supper at Saké on Flinders Lane in Melbourne. We had a great meal in their Sydney branch, but with all restaurants, every one is different.
The restaurant is a Japanese restaurant with Australian influence, i.e. the portions are bigger, the plating more confusing and the flavours more eclectic and bold. Following a recent trip to Japan, celebrity chef Neil Perry is debuting new food and drink items on the Saké menu that continue his mix of traditional Japanese food with the acclaimed restaurant’s contemporary approach, which is tweaked to suit each location across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
nasu dengaku | eggplant | dengaku miso
Nasu dengaku (なす田楽), or miso-glazed eggplant, is a classic Japanese preparation of the humble eggplant. The translation literally means eggplant grilled over a fire but Saké prepared it in a Dutch grill oven so you get evenly grilled eggplant. I find the miso a bit too sweet and the overall taste profile was missing something…. that umami feeling was missing. While making sure the glaze did not char in the oven, the miso did not mange to caramelised to give that satisfying feeling of umami.
hiramsa kingfish | coriander infused sweet ponzu | lime & jalapeño kosho
This dish has since became a classic in Australia but I had it first in Saké.
Locally sourced hiramasa kingfish has the same texture and taste like a fatty buri (yellowtail). As a natural inhabitant of the cold, crystal-clear waters of Spencer Gulf off the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, hiramasa kingfish are locally fed year round in the clean, crisp Antarctic currents that flow freely from the Great Southern Ocean. Named after its cousin 平政 hiramasa (yellowtail amberjack), it is quickly become a sustainable fish type vs its wild-caught cousins from the Japan seas.
Good, solidly made maki with popular ingredients like salmon, kingfish, avocado, tempura prawn, etc. The rice was a bit underwhelming, but quickly made up for with the bold use of ingredients and sauces.
grilled baby octopus | daikon | shiitake furikake
There were three main components in this dish – the grilled octopus, the compressed daikon and the in-house made furikake. Furikake (振り掛け / ふりかけ) is a dry Japanese seasoning meant to be sprinkled on top of cooked rice, vegetables, and fish. Here, they mixed dried bonito flakes, Korean chilli flakes for heat and dried shiitake grinded into powder. It was hidden into the dressing despite all the effort.
The other interesting component was the compressed daikon. Cubes of daikon were marinated in a tangy sauce and then vacuum packed so that the sauce soaked through all the air crevices in the daikon. What was left was an intense daikon pickle.
steamed prawn dumpling | shumai |chilli ponzu
Imagine har gow (prawn dumpling) topped with shredded har gow skin – that’s the Saké’s interpretation of the prawn dumpling. While it was very Instagrammable, the additional shredded skin did not do any justice to the flavourful dumpling. In fact, it pulled down the whole intensity of the dumpling with its blandness.
Service was still very prompt and attentive even we were almost the last tables served before close. And they did not rush us to finish, not did they rushed the speed of serving the dishes. In fact, the steamed prawn dumpling took its own sweet time and came last, and piping hot.
Saké Flinders Street
121 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia
Tel : 1300 670 910
Date Visited : Apr 2017